Davenport's Eric Schallert should be aware of what's happening all over the country, particularly in exciting cities such as Chicago, Madison, and Seattle, where officials are taking a fresh look at the transportation grid. (See "Bikes and Cars Shouldn't Mix," River Cities' Reader Issue 636, June 6-12, 2007.)
Traffic engineers are actively working at putting into place vehicle and bicycle mixing on roadways that is both safe and beneficial to the communities and their citizens. Putting city drivers on bikes sure would ease the load on our jammed streets - and be a boost to our overall health in the bargain.
Taking People Where They Need to Be
I disagree with Eric Schallert's letter to the editor of June 6 stating that bikes and cars shouldn't mix. Mr. Schallert says he is "the professional engineer who designs the majority of street construction and replacement projects in Davenport." Perhaps he is the professional engineer who designed the 53rd Street traffic nightmare.
Bicycles play a vital role in moving people where they need to go in cities throughout the country and the world. Bikes are part of the traffic flow in Madison, Copenhagen, Portland. Of course, bike paths are safer, but most of the time they don't go where people need to be.
If we continue to depend on cars to move all the people, we will continue to see more gridlock. Bicycles should be allowed to be a bigger part of the equation. As long as we let "professional engineers" like Schallert design streets for cars and exclude pedestrians and bicycles, we will see more traffic congestion, more air pollution from idling engines, and more frustrated drivers.
Rock Island has already begun to paint bike lanes on some streets, with more to come. Streets are the common areas we use to get from place to place. Everyone should have the right to use them safely.
Pleasant Valley, Iowa
Improving Our Viability
I hope that Mr. Schallert's unwillingness to consider better solutions to transportation, safety, and environmental issues makes it to the desk of the mayor. Mr. Winborn's recent vocal and practical support of bike-to-work week shows that at least some leaders in the community are willing to take steps that will improve the viability of our area on par with Madison or Portland.
If Mr. Schallert has his way, we'll merely continue to pave over acres and acres of cornfields to make way for additional cars that likely only have one passenger. If he is the "professional engineer" who came up with the design for the 53rd Street corridor, I think his bosses need to reconsider his qualifications.
(Via the River Cities' Reader Web site.)